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MeritCare has 11 Most Wired Awards

MeritCare's information technology department has been for the 11th straight year been named a 2009 Most Wired Hospital by Hospital & Health Networks, the journal of the American Hospital Association.

MeritCare is one of only five hospitals to achieve consecutive recognition 11 years in a row since the list's inception in 1998.

The 100 Most Wired Hospitals is an indicator of quality, said Craig Hewitt, chief information officer.

"Technology systems, when implemented appropriately, are the bricks and mortar to help clinicians coordinate timely care," Hewitt said.

Hospitals on the list, including MeritCare, use information technology to reduce errors, improve care and streamline business.

MeritCare has achieved the Most Wired award each year through several projects such as digital imaging, electronic patient record,, wireless computer access for patients, and videoconferencing.

The list is based on the magazine's Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study, which measures the use of information technology for safety and quality, customer service, business processes, workforce, and public health and safety. More than 550 health care systems representing 1,314 hospitals in the United States responded to the survey. Organizations with the highest survey scores were named to the 100 Most Wired list.